Month: February 2016

Via Dolorosa: Meditations on the Via Crucis

 Via Dolorosa: Meditations on the Via Crucis

Way of the cross Florian Kolfhaus

by Monsignor Florian Kolfhaus

  I would really like to introduce my readers to  Monsignor Florian Kolfhaus  who serves at the Secretariat of State’s Section for the Relation with States at the Holy See (Vatican). He has a Ph.D in Dogmatic Theology (my kind of teacher) and a Licentiate in Canon Law . His resume goes on and on, and he fulfils so many diplomatic functions at the Holy See ; it’s truly remarkable. He speaks on the radio regularly in Europe, puts on retreats, and has been seen at Steubenville and on EWTN. However, under all of these very impressive titles, degrees, and important positions,  I have found a truly humble servant who loves Our Lord, and has a very special relationship with Our Lady. He has chosen to share some of his beautiful meditations and writings with us right here at Canadian Catechist, and we are very honoured and blessed to be in this  position ; thank you so much Monsignor!  His very profound way of sharing his beautiful spirituality cannot be hidden under a basket. I knew when he sent me his writings and meditations that they would be really great, but I wasn’t expecting for my soul to be touched in the way it was. I am vey pleased to share this with you !

This Lent I have chosen to read Monsignor’s book and it can be found here: Via Dolorosa: Meditations on the Via Crucis

However, Monsignor’s latest book, which I have read, is also masterpiece on Our Lady and the Holy Rosary and it is called :  The School of Mary: Meditations on the Mysteries of the Rosary, it was just released last week and can be found here: http://www.amazon.ca/The-School-Mary-Meditations-Mysteries/dp/1621381625 

   I suggest you pray before reading the meditation below. You can pray a Hail Mary prayer, the Our Father, Glory be, or the Come Holy Ghost prayer! I just suggest that you pray before reading Holy Scripture or spiritual reading in order to open your heart and mind to the voice of God.

  From Monsignor Florian Kolfhaus’s book :  Via Dolorosa: Meditations on the Via Crucis  published by Gracewing

Certainly, there are many ways that lead to God. The greatness and goodness of God can be seen in His creation. His mercy shines in the person of Jesus of whom the Gospels speaks. The Lord Himself speaks to us through His word, through His Church, and through our conscience. But man can indeed ignore all of that. On the subject of error and sin, C.S. Lewis writes, “Its victims seem to see it the least, the more they have fallen into it. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Suffering that renders us speechless by its injustice burns everything away that is not God. He who suffers then, when no man can help any longer, can only reach out for God. He who suffers experiences in suffering that he is a creature who has not created himself and cannot redeem himself. Indeed, even rebellion, how a good God can allow such pain, is no longer a philosophical question in the hour of need, but a call for a saving hand, which can pull us from the abyss. They say, “Necessity teaches prayer.” And indeed, God is so humble that He does not reproach us when we go to Him, when no one else can help us anymore, when we see no way out, when He is, so to speak, the last choice and there is no other remaining. Oftentimes, we must pass along the painful road to find God, to discover that all the other ways in life were dead-ends.

***

Demons suffer without loving. Angels love without suffering. We men live in this world to suffer and to love. That is our mission. Of course, suffering can lead us to bitterness; suffering without love is hell – in the truest sense of the word. But to suffer and to love are nevertheless a power which can bring heaven down to earth. Suffering and loving means overcoming evil from within, because an evil – suffering – is turned into good. Suffering and choosing to love is to defeat evil with good, to defeat the devastating power of sin and its consequence of death and pain in the world, and to transform it into grace and blessing. The lover who is stricken by the weight of suffering takes on evil and transforms it. He takes it upon His shoulder and goes forward, always in the grace of Christ. He goes up to Golgotha, transforming the cross from a punishment into a sign of life. The bare wooden beams on which the sentenced person is tortured to death become an altar on which the Lamb is slaughtered and sheds His blood for the salvation of the world. Christ did not die the death of a convicted criminal on Calvary, as it may have seemed, but suffered with a human and divine love to the point of sacrificing His life. He is the Lord who handed Himself over to the enemy in order to make His life a sacrifice and to make the corrupter of mankind – in accordance with the Divine plan – the servant of salvation. Victor quia victima. He is the victor because He became the victim, for “the Lamb is stronger than the dragon” (Pope Benedict XVI, December 22, 2005). The devil’s anger nailed the body of Christ to the Cross and pulled His human soul down to the edge of the abyss, where the Lord, who was close to despair, was not even sure about the closeness of the Father: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” But precisely in this way Jesus has won, and the one who thought to govern Him through pain and fear has lost his battle. In a certain sense, Jesus defeated the devil with his own weapons – or better put – by His love He reversed the blow of the sword and forced the blade into the demon himself. In the deepest moment of His anguish, Jesus loved not only God, but also us sinners – we who do not deserve that kind of love – and He pulled us from the abyss and redeemed us. The fire of His love turned the giving of Himself on the Cross into a sacrifice that reconciled God and men. In this fire, Christ offered His own body and blood to the Father in order to bring about everlasting salvation. In this sacrificial flame that still burns on our altars, His love, which He brought to fulfillment on the Cross, shines forth. We are capable of suffering and loving Christ on earth, and that indeed is the great dignity of the baptized, of which – as some mystics have said – even the spirits in heaven are jealous. We can participate in His sacrifice, as unbelievable as this seems, and add what His suffering lacks in order to complete the power of His grace (cf. Col 1:24). Indeed, He wants us to suffer, to love, and to stand with Him on Golgotha: not as people convicted by an unpleasant fate, but as priests and kings, whose toils and sufferings God accepts as worthy offerings, because they come from people in love. All of this naturally remains a mystery; the more pain and fear darken the eye, the more impenetrable and obscure the mystery seems. To love in these moments – even without feeling it or being aware of one’s own love – disarms evil, which has already become weakened from striking a loving soul. This battle, in which our defeats are turned into victories by grace, can only be fought by the One who has taken all of our life’s burdens upon His shoulders. Only the One who has become a believer in love can be a suffering lover. Everyone who, at the end of the painful road, is asked how he could have climbed this steep path and why he did not remain on the ground after so many falls, since everything seems useless, will answer with St. John: “Credidimus Caritati – we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us” (1 Jn 4:16).

  1. Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His cross.

V.: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You

A.: Because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world

Everything goes black. I stumble and trip. One of the soldiers clutches me and holds me up cursing in order to keep me from falling. It is not pity, no. Even my executioners, who made a game of striking and humiliating me at the Praetorium, want to finish it. I cannot go any further. Only the sheer strength of the Roman, who will not release his grip of my arm, supports me. He holds me like an animal. He spits at me, disgusted by my wounds. If it were his decision, he would exterminate this piece of filth here and now. Why this big scene for a simple Jewish criminal? He yells to his comrades to fetch a man from the crowd to help Me. They bring a stranger to my side under the wooden beam, one who has given up on protesting against it. He does not bow voluntarily under My cross; he curses this day, the Romans, and Me. We are like two oxen yoked under the same plough. I sense his bitterness, his pain, and his anger. It is unjust to make him carry the cross. But is it not the same for Me? He is innocent. Am I not innocent as well? The soldiers push us further. The weight on my neck has become lighter, while it rests heavily on his. Eventually, he will throw down the cross and go his own way; I will be nailed to it. He will live; I will die. I alone hold the whole universe on My shoulders but could not carry this cross alone. I need him. I need you! Who told you that you must do it by yourself? When my strength fades, how could I expect you not to be crushed under the cross’ weight? He accompanies Me for a short while, and with these steps he shares not only My burden, but also My lot. Does he know how much he is helping Me? Does he know how much it means to Me, that he goes along this Way of the Cross? Where are My friends, the ones who should understand what I am doing here and help Me? A stranger comforts Me more than they do, because he is present and shares My pain. He is moved neither by faith nor by piety, for neither love nor pity he is by My side, and yet he helps Me. He helps Me despite being forced. Would you carry My cross if you had not been forced to carry it? Would you be so close if sheer violence had not cast you under the same yoke? Trust Me, I do not want to see you suffer, but still, you ease my burden. You scream, you curse and rebel, that all of this be loaded upon your shoulders, and at the end you are silent, full of defiance and bitterness. But still you have helped Me more than any of My friends. Do you think that you have no other choice? I turn My head and seek a gaze, I seek your gaze. There is only a hand’s length between our faces, shoulder-to-shoulder we carry the same weight. Now you are closer to Me than anyone else. There was only one moment, but he sees and understands. His muscles flex and his step follows My struggling steps. Would we have become friends if it were not for this cross? Suddenly, everything changes: it is no longer the blows of the soldiers that urge him on, but his pity; not violence, but love. You are clinging to my cross. You cannot throw it down, as much as you convulse against it. I plead with you, let it be done to you. I need your help, and I yearn for your love. Despairingly, you ask, “Why me?”, and wish that everything had happened differently. You would not remain a spectator by the wayside like so many, but go with Me. I would not have been able to endure it if you had turned and gone your own way. If I were to tell you that it was election and not damnation, would you believe me in this instant? Believe me, I did not want your pain, but it has to be so, in order for you to be with me. Why do you not turn your head and look at Me? Do you not realize that you are closer to Me than ever before? I know how hard it is. If you could only fathom that you were not a victim of blind fate, but chosen and loved. Trust me: when you are at the end and look back, you will understand it all.

More to follow soon ! Please get yourself a copy of this beautiful book at your nearest Catholic Bookstore or right  here . I am sure Branches Catholic Bookstore  will have these stocked soon!

In JM+JT,

Lee

ps   It is important that we pray for and support the faithful, solid, and orthodox priests that stand up for our Faith and Church through these crazy times. This is one of the reasons why I am suggesting Monsignor Florian’s books. They are faithful and orthodox. We need to support these priests in any way we can, and one way is to share and purchase their books.

Consecration Prayer to Jesus Through Mary

Consecration Prayer to Jesus Through Mary

St Louis Marie DeMonfort

Totus Tuus!

Consecration Prayer to Jesus Through Mary

The words of consecration are:

O Eternal and incarnate Wisdom! O sweetest and most adorable Jesus! True God and true man, only Son of the Eternal Father, and of Mary, always virgin! I adore Thee profoundly in the bosom and splendors of Thy Father during eternity; and I adore Thee also in the virginal bosom of Mary, Thy most worthy Mother, in the time of Thine incarnation.

I give Thee thanks for that Thou hast annihilated Thyself, taking the form of a slave in order to rescue me from the cruel slavery of the devil. I praise and glorify Thee for that Thou hast been pleased to submit Thyself to Mary, Thy holy Mother, in all things, in order to make me Thy faithful slave through her. But, alas! Ungrateful and faithless as I have been, I have not kept the promises which I made so solemnly to Thee in my Baptism; I have not fulfilled my obligations; I do not deserve to be called Thy child, nor yet Thy slave; and as there is nothing in me which does not merit Thine anger and Thy repulse, I dare not come by myself before Thy most holy and august Majesty. It is on this account that I have recourse to the intercession of Thy most holy Mother, whom Thou hast given me for a mediatrix with Thee. It is through her that I hope to obtain of Thee contrition, the pardon of my sins, and the acquisition and preservation of wisdom.

Hail, then, O immaculate Mary, living tabernacle of the Divinity, where the Eternal Wisdom willed to be hidden and to be adored by angels and by men! Hail, O Queen of Heaven and earth, to whose empire everything is subject which is under God. Hail, O sure refuge of sinners, whose mercy fails no one. Hear the desires which I have of the Divine Wisdom; and for that end receive the vows and offerings which in my lowliness I present to thee.

I, N_____, a faithless sinner, renew and ratify today in thy hands the vows of my Baptism; I renounce forever Satan, his pomps and works; and I give myself entirely to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him all the days of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have ever been before. In the presence of all the heavenly court I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God in time and in eternity.

Receive, O benignant Virgin, this little offering of my slavery, in honor of, and in union with, that subjection which the Eternal Wisdom deigned to have to thy maternity; in homage to the power which both of you have over this poor sinner, and in thanksgiving for the privileges with which the Holy Trinity has favored thee. I declare that I wish henceforth, as thy true slave, to seek thy honor and to obey thee in all things.

O admirable Mother, present me to thy dear Son as His eternal slave, so that as He has redeemed me by thee, by thee He may receive me! O Mother of mercy, grant me the grace to obtain the true Wisdom of God; and for that end receive me among those whom thou lovest and teachest, whom thou leadest, nourishest and protectest as thy children and thy slaves.

O faithful Virgin, make me in all things so perfect a disciple, imitator and slave of the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ thy Son, that I may attain, by thine intercession and by thine example, to the fullness of His age on earth and of His glory in Heaven. Amen.

In  JM+JT,

     Lee

Interview With A Faithful Bishop!

MUST READ!!! 

Exclusive Interview With His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider by Rorate_Caeli

Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Please take a couple minutes to read this very instructive and informative interview of His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider by Rorate_Caeli , it clears up many misconceptions and questions that the faithful may have regarding the current state of the Church and the Pope.

POST-SYNOD CHURCH & UNBELIEVERS IN THE HIERARCHY

Rorate Caeli: In the recent Synod, we will not know the legal impact it will have on the Church for some time, as it’s up to Pope Francis to move next. Regardless of the eventual outcome, for all intent and purposes, is there already a schism in the Church? And, if so, what does it mean practically speaking? How will it manifest itself for typical Catholics in the pews?

H.E. Schneider: Schism means according to the definition of the Code of Canon Law, can. 751: The refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with those members of the Church who are submitted to the Supreme Pontiff. One has to distinguish the defect in belief or heresy from schism. The defect in belief or heresy is indeed a greater sin than schism, as Saint Thomas Aquinas said: “Unbelief is a sin committed against God Himself, according as He is Himself the First Truth, on which faith is founded; whereas schism is opposed to ecclesiastical unity, which is a lesser good than God Himself. Wherefore the sin of unbelief is generically more grievous than the sin of schism” (II-II, q. 39, a. 2 c).  The very crisis of the Church in our days consists in the ever growing phenomenon that those who don’t fully believe and profess the integrity of the Catholic faith frequently occupy strategic positions in the life of the Church, such as professors of theology, educators in seminaries, religious superiors, parish priests and even bishops and cardinals. And these people with their defective faith profess themselves as being submitted to the Pope.  The height of confusion and absurdity manifests itself when such semi-heretical clerics accuse those who defend the purity and integrity of the Catholic faith as being against the Pope – as being according to their opinion in some way schismatics. For simple Catholics in the pews, such a situation of confusion is a real challenge of their faith, in the indestructibility of the Church. They have to keep strong the integrity of their faith according to the immutable Catholic truths, which were handed over by our fore-fathers, and which we find in in the Traditional catechisms and in the works of the Fathers and of the Doctors of the Church.
Rorate Caeli: Speaking of typical Catholics, what will the typical parish priest face now that he didn’t face before the Synod began? What pressures, such as the washing of women’s feet on Maundy Thursday after the example of Francis, will burden the parish priest even more than he is burdened today?

H.E. Schneider: A typical Catholic parish priest should know well the perennial sense of the Catholic faith, the perennial sense as well of the laws of the Catholic liturgy and, knowing this, he should have an interior sureness and firmness. He should always remember the Catholic principle of discernment: “Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus”, i.e. “What has been always, everywhere and from all” believed and practiced.  The categories “always, everywhere, all” are not to be understood in an arithmetical, but in a moral sense. A concrete criterion for discernment is this: “Does this change in a doctrinal affirmation, in a pastoral or in a liturgical practice constitute a rupture with the centuries-old, or even with the millennial past? And does this innovation really make the faith shine clearer and brighter? Does this liturgical innovation bring to us closer the sanctity of God, or manifest deeper and more beautiful the Divine mysteries? Does this disciplinary innovation really increase a greater zeal for the holiness of life?”  As concretely to the innovation of washing the feet of women during the Holy Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday: This Holy Mass celebrates the commemoration of the institution of the sacraments of the Eucharist and the Priesthood. Therefore, the foot washing of women along with the men not only distracts from the main focus on Eucharist and on Priesthood, but generates confusion regarding the historical symbolism of the “twelve” and of the apostles being of male sex. The universal tradition of the Church never allowed the foot washing during the Holy Mass, but instead outside of Mass, in a special ceremony.  By the way: the public washing and usually also kissing of the feet of women on the part of a man, in our case, of a priest or a bishop, is considered by every person of common sense in all cultures as being improper and even indecent. Thanks be to God no priest or bishop is obliged to wash publicly the feet of women on Holy Thursday, for there is no binding norm for it, and the foot washing itself is only facultative.

PRIESTLY FRATERNITY OF ST. PIUS X (SSPX)

Rorate Caeli: A non-typical situation in the church is the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Why does Your Excellency think that so many Catholics are afraid of the SSPX or anxious about any association with it? From what Your Excellency has seen, what gifts do you think the SSPX can bring to the mainstream Church?

H.E. Schneider: When someone or something is unimportant and weak, nobody has fear of it. Those who have fear of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X ultimately have fear of the perennial Catholic truths and of its demands in the moral and the liturgical domain.  When the SSPX tries to believe, to worship and to live morally the way our fore-fathers and the best-known Saints did during a millennial period, then one has to consider the life and the work of these Catholic priests and faithful of the SSPX as a gift for the Church in our days – even as one of the several instruments which the Divine Providence uses to remedy the enormity of the current general crisis of the faith, of the morals and of the liturgy inside the Church.  In some sectors of the SSPX there are, however, as it is the case in every human society some eccentric personalities. They have a method and a mindset which lack justice and charity and consequently the true “sentire cum ecclesia,” and there is the danger of an ecclesial autocephaly and to be the last judicial instance in the Church. However, to my knowledge, the healthier part corresponds to the major part of the SSPX and I consider their General Superior, His Excellency Monsignor Bernard Fellay, as an exemplarily and true Catholic bishop. There is some hope for a canonical recognition of the SPPX.

THE SYNOD AND PAPALOTRY 

Rorate Caeli: Back on the Synod, while focusing on tradition, does Your Excellency believe that the changes in the Roman liturgy post-Vatican II contributed to the current crisis in the Church, the crisis of marriage, the family and societal morality in general??

H.E. Schneider:  I wouldn’t affirm this in such a way. Indeed the very source of the current crisis in the Church, the crisis of marriage, of the family and of the morality in general is not the liturgical reform, but the defects in faith, the doctrinal relativism, from which flows the moral and liturgical relativism. For, if I believe in a defective manner, I will live a defective moral life and I will worship in a defective, indifferent manner. It is necessary first to restore the clearness and firmness of the doctrine of faith and of morals in all levels and, from there, start to improve the liturgy. The integrity and the beauty of the faith demands the integrity and the beauty of one’s moral life and this demands the integrity and the beauty of the public worship.

Rorate Caeli: Still on the Synod, it is clear to those with eyes to see that Pope Francis caused confusion instead of clarity in the Synod process, and encouraged a turn toward rupture by elevating the role of Cardinals Kaspar and Danneels, Archbishop Cupich, etc. What is the proper attitude a Catholic should have towards the pope in these troubled times? Are Catholics obliged to make their views known and “resist” as Cardinal Burke said in an interview last year with us, even when their views are critical of the pope?

H.E. Schneider: For several past generations until our days there reigns in the life of the Church a kind of “pope-centrism” or a kind of “papolatria” which is undoubtedly excessive compared with the moderate and supernatural vision of the person of the Pope and his due veneration in the past times. Such an excessive attitude towards the person of the Pope generates in the practice an excessive and wrong theological meaning regarding the dogma of the Papal infallibility.  If the Pope would tell the entire church to do something, which would directly damage an unchangeable Divine truth or a Divine commandment, every Catholic would have the right to correct him in a due respectful form, moved out of reverence and love for the sacred office, and person of the Pope. The Church is not the private property of the Pope. The Pope can’t say “I am the Church,” as it did the French king Louis XIV, who said: “L’État c’est moi.” The Pope is only the Vicar, not the successor of Christ. The concerns about the purity of the faith is ultimately a matter of all members of the Church, which is one, and a unique living body. In the ancient times before entrusting to someone the office of a priest and of a bishop, the faithful were asked if they can guarantee that the candidate had the right faith, and a high moral conduct. The old Pontificale Romanum says: “The captain of a ship and its passengers alike have reason to feel safe or else in danger on a voyage, therefore they ought to be of one mind in their common interests.” It was the Second Vatican Council, which very much encouraged the lay faithful to contribute to the authentic good of the Church, in strengthening the faith.  I think in a time in which a great part of the holders of the office of the Magisterium are negligent in their sacred duty, the Holy Spirit calls today, namely the faithful, to step into the breach and defend courageously with an authentic “sentire cum ecclesia” the Catholic faith.

TRADITION AND ITS ENEMIES FROM WITHIN

Rorate Caeli: Is the pope the measure of tradition, or is he measured by tradition? And should faithful Catholics pray for a traditional pope to arrive soon?

H.E. Schneider: The Pope is surely not the measure of tradition, but on the contrary. We must always bear in mind the following dogmatic teaching of the First Vatican Council: The office of the successors of Peter does not consist in making known some new doctrine, but in guarding and faithfully expounding the deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles (cf. Constitutio dogmatica Pastor aeternus, cap. 4).  In fulfilling one of his most important tasks, the Pope has to strive so that “the whole flock of Christ might be kept away from the poisonous food of error” (First Vatican Council, ibd.).  The following expression which was in use since the first centuries of the Church, is one of the most striking definitions of the Papal office, and has to be in some sense a second nature of every Pope: “Faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith” (First Vatican Council, ibd.).  We must always pray that God provides His Church with traditional-minded Popes. However, we have to believe in these words: “It is not for you to have knowledge of the time and the order of events which the Father has kept in his control” (Acts 1: 7).

Rorate Caeli:  We know there are many bishops and cardinals – possibly the majority – who want to change the Church’s doctrinal language and long-standing discipline, under the excuses of “development of doctrine” and “pastoral compassion.” What is wrong with their argument?

H.E. Schneider: Expressions like “development of doctrine” and “pastoral compassion” are in fact usually a pretext to change the teaching of Christ, and against its perennial sense and integrity, as the Apostles had transmitted it to the whole Church, and it was faithfully preserved through the Fathers of the Church, the dogmatic teachings of the Ecumenical Councils and of the Popes.  Ultimately, those clerics want another Church, and even another religion: A naturalistic religion, which is adapted to the spirit of the time. Such clerics are really wolves in sheep’s clothing, often flirting with the world. Not courageous shepherds – but rather cowardly rabbits.    

ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH

Rorate Caeli: We hear a lot about the role of women in the Church today – the so-called “feminine genius.” Women obviously have played a critical role in the Church since the beginning, starting with the Blessed Virgin Mary. But liturgically, Christ made His position crystal clear, as have pre-Conciliar popes. Does Your Excellency believe that female involvement in the liturgy, whether it’s women taking part in the Novus Ordo Mass or girl altar boys, has played a positive or negative role in the Church the last four decades?

H.E. Schneider: There is no doubt about the fact that the female involvement in the liturgical services at the altar (reading the lecture, serving at the altar, distributing Holy Communion) represents a radical rupture with the entire and universal tradition of the Church. Therefore, such a practice is against the Apostolic tradition.  Such a practice gave to the liturgy of the Holy Mass a clear Protestant shape and a characteristic of an informal prayer meeting or of a catechetical event. This practice is surely contrary to the intentions of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council and there is not in the least an indication for it in the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy.

THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS

Rorate Caeli: Your Excellency is well known for celebrating the traditional Latin Mass in many places around the world. What does Your Excellency find to be the deepest lessons learned from saying the Latin Mass, as a priest and as a bishop, that other priests and bishops may hope to gain by saying the traditional Mass themselves?

H.E. Schneider: The deepest lessons I learned from celebrating the traditional form of the Mass is this: I am only a poor instrument of a supernatural and utmost sacred action, whose principal celebrant is Christ, the Eternal High Priest. I feel that during the celebration of the Mass I lost in some sense my individual freedom, for the words and the gesture are prescribed even in their smallest details, and I am not able to dispose of them. I feel most deeply in my heart that I am only a servant and a minister who yet with free will, with faith and love, fulfill not my will, but the will of Another.  The traditional and more than millennial-old rite of the Holy Mass, which not even the Council of Trent changed, because the Ordo Missae before and after that Council was almost identical, proclaims and powerfully evangelizes the Incarnation and the Epiphany of the ineffably saintly and immense God, who in the liturgy as “God with us,” as “Emmanuel,” becomes so little and so close to us. The traditional rite of the Mass is a highly artfully and, at the same time, a powerful proclamation of the Gospel, realizing the work of our salvation.

Rorate Caeli: If Pope Benedict is correct in saying that the Roman Rite currently (if strangely) exists in two forms rather than one, why has it not yet happened that all seminarians are required to study and learn the traditional Latin Mass, as part of their seminary training? How can a parish priest of the Roman Church not know both forms of the one rite of his Church? And how can so many Catholics still be denied the traditional Mass and sacraments if it is an equal form?

H.E. Schneider: According to the intention of Pope Benedict XVI, and the clear norms of the Instruction “Universae Ecclesiae,” all Catholic seminarians have to know the traditional form of the Mass and be able to celebrate it. The same document says that this form of Mass is a treasure for the entire Church – thus it is for all of the faithful.  Pope John Paul II made an urgent appeal to all bishops to accommodate generously the wish of the faithful regarding the celebration of the traditional form of the Mass. When clerics and bishops obstruct or restrict the celebration of the traditional Mass, they don’t obey what the Holy Spirit says to the Church, and they are acting in a very anti-pastoral way. They behave as the possessors of the treasure of the liturgy, which does not belong to them, for they are only administrators. In denying the celebration of the traditional Mass or in obstructing and discriminating against it, they behave like an unfaithful and capricious administrator who – contrary to the instructions of the house-father – keeps the pantry under lock or like a wicked stepmother who gives the children a meager fare. Perhaps such clerics have fear of the great power of the truth irradiating from the celebration of the traditional Mass. One can compare the traditional Mass with a lion: Let him free, and he will defend himself.

RUSSIA NOT YET EXPLICITLY CONSECRATED

Rorate Caeli: There are many Russian Orthodox where Your Excellency lives. Has Alexander of Astana or anyone else in the Moscow Patriarchate asked Your Excellency about the recent Synod or about what is happening to the Church under Francis? Do they even care at this point?

H.E. Schneider: Those Orthodox Prelates, with whom I have contact, generally are not well informed about the internal current disputes in the Catholic Church, or at least they had never spoken with me about such issues. Even though they don’t recognize the jurisdictional primacy of the Pope, they nevertheless look on the Pope as the first hierarchical office in the Church, from a point of view of the order of protocol.

Rorate Caeli: We are just a year away from the 100th anniversary of Fatima. Russia was arguably not consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and certainly not converted. The Church, while ever spotless, is in complete disarray – maybe worse than during the Arian Heresy. Will things get even worse before they get better and how should truly faithful Catholics prepare for what is coming?

H.E. Schneider: We have to believe firmly: The Church is not ours, nor the Pope’s. The Church is Christ’s and He alone holds and leads her indefectibly even through the darkest periods of crisis, as our current situation indeed is.  This is a demonstration of the Divine character of the Church. The Church is essentially a mystery, a supernatural mystery, and we cannot approach her as we approach a political party or a pure human society. At the same time, the Church is human and on her human level she is nowadays enduring a sorrowful passion, participating in the Passion of Christ.  One can think that the Church in our days is being flagellated as our Lord, is being denuded as was Our Lord, on the tenth Cross station. The Church, our mother, is being bound in cords not only by the enemies of Christ but also by some of their collaborators in the rank of the clergy, even sometimes of the high clergy. All good children of Mother Church as courageous soldiers we have to try to free this mother – with the spiritual weapons of defending and proclaiming the truth, promoting the traditional liturgy, Eucharistic adoration, the crusade of the Holy Rosary, the battle against the sin in one’s private life and striving for holiness.  We have to pray that the Pope may soon consecrate explicitly Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, then She will win, as the Church prayed since the old times: “Rejoice O Virgin Mary, for thou alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world” (Gaude, Maria Virgo, cunctas haereses sola interemisti in universo mundo).